Its the start that matters – in chess as in life. Maternity and child care is important and plans to fund child care (BBC News: Queen’s Speech 2015: Free childcare access to double) will help. But “Britain has one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the world, with only 50 per cent of mothers managing it for six weeks”…. An opportunity for deserts based rationing? Unfortunately the record of direct attempts to reverse or correct inequalities are usually perverse in their outcomes… Lets hope this one is not. Will all Regions follow the English lead? Would the money be better spread down to 2 years old? What will the rich do with their extra cash?
Mothers who bottle-feed their babies are more likely to suffer verbal abuse, criticism and stigma in public than those who breastfeed, a report says.
It suggests that campaigns to encourage more women to breastfeed have led to a backlash against those who cannot or choose not to.
Some 40 per cent of bottle-feeding mothers surveyed for the report said that they had endured negative comments from strangers, angry stares and criticism, compared with 25 per cent of breastfeeding mothers. A further 16 per cent who used formula milk had been criticised by mothers they knew.
The findings come in a survey of more than 2,000 mothers by Channel Mum, an online video forum for parents.
Overall, more than two thirds of those who bottle-fed said they had been judged negatively, either by health professionals, friends and family or strangers in public, and had been made to feel they were failing their baby. Some mothers say they now pretend they are breastfeeding to avoid criticism.
Britain has one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the world, with only 50 per cent of mothers managing it for six weeks and 1 per cent for six months, as recommended. The benefits of breastfeeding include higher IQs and lower rates of obesity.
However, questions have been asked about whether mothers are being properly helped to breastfeed. Some said they had not been warned that it can be difficult to establish a regime and can be painful.
Rachel Brady, 35, a mother of two, had to have her first baby re-admitted to hospital because he was underweight because of the difficulties she had breastfeeding.
“Despite the fact that I was clearly struggling, I was made to think giving him just one bottle was some sort of dirty, bad option. They told me just to persevere. Younger midwives in particular are very militant. I felt I had failed in the one thing that was asked of me as a new mother,” she said. Once in hospital, her son was part breast and part bottle-fed anyway.
Siobhan Freegard, the founder of Channel Mum, said that putting new mothers under pressure benefited no one. “Swapping abuse for mums who breastfeed in public for mums who bottle-feed isn’t progress,” she said. “Most mothers desperately want to breastfeed, but not all can. Those mums who do choose to bottle feed must not be made to feel second-class citizens.”
Justine Roberts, the chief executive of the Mumsnet forum, said: “Mothers need dedicated support and practical advice to make breastfeeding a truly attractive option. Until then, parents will continue to make the best choices they can in their own circumstances — and it’s important that they’re not judged for that or made to feel inadequate. Ultimately, a hungry baby needs to be fed, and no woman should suffer abuse or be put under pressure to change how they choose to feed their child.”
It used to be the other way!